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1965 Mercury Cyclone - Fuel Injection 101

Todd Hoffman's '65 Mercury Cyclone

By , Photography by Mike Morgan Photography

Dyno Don made them famous with his brutal wheelstanding A/FX Mercury in 1965, breeding clones and street cars for a generation. The lowly Comet and Falcon had met the perfect set of aesthetics, weight, and performance to make the Chevy guys wonder what it would be like to run the engine with the funny valve covers and exhaust-port arrangement. Soon belts of the cars appeared at Lions and OCIR before the moon set on those tracks.

The whole FX thing was feared dead until racers began to gather at the Hot Rod Reunion and March Meet for a little snort of nostalgia. That is where Todd saw his first B/FX car. It had a ferocious small-block with a dual-quad 289, 4.56s, and a four-speed. He also met Phil Featherston, who was racing an original '64 Thunderbolt with a 427 running 9s in the A/FX class. Like the generations before him, Todd built a clone.

Todd had his fun until he started noticing Comets racing at the same tracks. They were smaller and better. He quickly found a '65 Comet driver and warmed the seat for a while on the street, but the idea was already there. With a 289 and 4.56:1 gears, it became a quick little racer that was making the Thunderbolt look large. Soon the 427 was out on the hook and waiting for the swap. That's when Todd got lucky. Searching online, he found a Hilborn injection system for an FE with the innocuous number 101 stamped on the side. He later discovered that it was the first unit made for the FE by Hilborn.

With the nostalgic big-block in place, it was time to go racing. It happened that the five or six guys with original '60s drag cars didn't mix well with the modern race cars. Todd hatched American Nostalgia West with friends Dave Franklin and Joel Miner. Together, they would go to Speedworld, Firebird, and Famoso, eventually becoming their own show. Soon they were being invited to Mopars at the Strip, the March Meet, and the Mooneyes show.

Having developed a following of folks who travel to see the FX cars run, they organized to run 16 to 24 cars with qualifying and elimination rounds, just like everybody else. Most of them are big-block cars, but small-block guys (B/FX) are OK if the car is right. The tour is spread across the Western states; check them out at AmericanNostalgiaWestRacing.com.

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